I expected a sleazy giallo and I got a sleazy giallo. The catchy folk-rock theme song? That surprised me.
As of this writing, the film's IMDb page has no trivia. No proof the American distributor already owned the song, spliced it into the soundtrack, and changed the film's title. Nope, none at all. So, clearly, director Mario Gariazzo commissioned the theme, believing it a perfect tonal fit. If that's true, it might merit an extra star.
The film's plot concerns a blackmail scam photographing wealthy marks in compromising positions in the titular establishment. Said positions feature lots of nudity and kinky behavior.
Soon, a black-gloved killer starts picking off victims peripheral to the scam. After the killer stashes a body in a parked car's trunk, the car's owners, a young couple, get involved.
At the local police's urging, the couple turns amateur sleuths, a questionable decision that sees the wife pose nude for a sleazy photographer while her husband waits in the car. When she's inevitably captured and beaten, he's laughably unconcerned.
This all plays out as an over-the-top cross between Scooby-Doo and softcore porn. The end reveal is laugh-out-loud implausible, and the blackmail scenes are as explicit as the censors would allow. It's pure exploitation in all it's ridiculous glory and I'll admit, it kept me entertained. If sleazy giallos are your thing, Play Motel won't disappoint.